CDC Revises Number of Reported Legionellosis Cases Upward

The original number of cases of Legionellosis reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for calendar year 2018 was already at a record 8,356 cases. This November, that number was revised upward to 9,933 cases, representing an increase of 18.8 percent . Although Legionellosis includes both Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever, the vast majority of these newly reported cases were for the more serious diagnosis of Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of pneumonia caused by a
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Illinois Legislature Advance Ethylene Oxide Ban

On October 30, 2019, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to approve legislation that would effectively ban the use of ethylene oxide, which is a chemical used for sterilizing the majority of medical devices found in hospital operating rooms and other health care settings. In moving forward with the legislation, Illinois lawmakers rejected warnings from federal health care regulators and medical device and surgical tool manufacturers that the measure would lead to shortages of properly sterilized health care tools. To
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New Jersey Governor Announces Ambitious 10-Year Plan to Remove Lead from Service Lines and Paint in Homes Throughout the State

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a comprehensive statewide plan to address lead exposure throughout the state. “My comprehensive statewide plan brings together experts from our cabinet departments, stakeholders, and advocates to create strong partnerships and implement policies to protect New Jersey’s children and families from lead” the governor commented. “Together, guided by the actions outlined in our strategy, we will overcome this public health challenge that has been building for decades to ensure that our residents are safe from
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Third Circuit Court of Appeals Delivers Knockout Punch to PennEast Natural Gas Pipeline, Eminent Domain Squashed

Previously, we reported that that the United States District Courts for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey granted a consortium of natural gas companies the right of eminent domain to take steps toward building the PennEast pipeline to connect natural gas sources in Pennsylvania to parts of New Jersey. We then reported that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay to temporarily stop any physical construction from beginning on the pipeline in New Jersey until the appeal was decided.  ​Now, in the
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Regulatory Alert: EPA Publishes Draft Risk Evaluations for 1,4-Dioxane and HBCD

Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued controversial draft risk evaluations for 1,4-Dioxane and Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD), two of 10 chemicals subject to scrutiny under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Under the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act which amended the TSCA in 2016, the EPA is required to publish information regarding “hazards, exposures, conditions of use and potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations,” regarding the enumerated chemicals. These risk evaluations are
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Don’t Go Taking My Land: Did SCOTUS Find a Serious Hurdle for State Limitations on Energy Development?

What does a private graveyard have to do with environmental regulation? Potentially a lot. The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that property owners can forgo state court to assert claims that the government unconstitutionally allowed a “taking” of their land. Most are familiar with the takings clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment: “[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” That is, governments are not permitted to take private property without providing fair value.
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Record-Setting $2 Billion Verdict In Glyphosate Litigation

Previously, we reported two significant jury verdicts involving alleged exposure to glyphosate-containing Roundup, including a $289 million verdict and an $80 million verdict, both occurring in California courts within the past year. In another plaintiff’s victory, an Alameda County jury has reached a record-setting $2 billion verdict against Monsanto — the largest in history involving alleged exposure to glyphosate. This is now the third consecutive herbicide trial where a jury has found in favor of plaintiffs. The plaintiffs in this
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Breaking: Jury Awards Plaintiff $80 Million in Second Glyphosate Verdict

In the second glyphosate personal injury case to go to a jury trial, a federal jury in the case of Hardeman v. Monsantomatter returned a unanimous verdict of $80 million for the plaintiff against the defendant. The verdict ended a two-part trial over the plaintiff’s allegations that his exposure to glyphosate over a period of approximately 25 years of spraying Roundup on his 56-acre property caused him to develop Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the first phase, which ended last week, the jury
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WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke – How Shoud GHG Emissions be Estimated?

On March 19, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling blocking, at least temporarily, approved oil and gas drilling on approximately 300,000 acres in Wyoming. The case, WildEarth Guardians v. Zinke, et al., 16-1724 (D.C. Cir.), was brought by two advocacy groups, Wildlife Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility, which alleged that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated federal law by not sufficiently considering climate change when authorizing oil and gas leasing on federal land in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.
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Senate Follows House’s Lead: Legislation Introduced by the Upper Chamber Aims to Classify PFAS as “Hazardous Substances” Under CERCLA

On March 1, 2019, new legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate to classify per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under Superfund.  A similar bipartisan piece of legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2019. PFAS are a class of fluorinated chemicals that are found in consumer products such as non-stick pans, food packaging, and rain gear, as well as commercial products including firefighting foam. The chemicals do not break down once released into
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